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tv   Hannity  FOX News  January 14, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

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our twitter feed is going nuts right now. people are fired up about this ksm thing. tell us your thoughts. @megynkelly. more on that tomorrow night. hannity is up next. welcome to hannity, it is his first cable interview, and in a moment, i'll be joined by robert gates to respond to the explosive revelations in his tell all memoir. last week, the political world was buzzing. most were shocked about some of the things he witnessed during his time in the obama administrati administration. >> damage control from the white house. >> the white house on the defensive after excerpts were released, a devastating critique about president obama.
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>> there's a lot in the book that could be damaging. >> did you confront the president about his lack of passionate that time? >> i talked to the president about the need to speak out about the importance of the war and why it was important for the troops to be there. >> never really had a passion pursuing the war in afghanistan. and that kind of bothered you. >> it's one thing to tell the troops you support them. it's another to work at making them believe that you believe as president that their sacrifice is worth it. >> president bush did that i did not see president obama do that. it was this absence of passion. absence of conviction of success, that disturbed me. where i have particular problem with the vice president is his
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encouragement of suspicion of the military. >> i think it's fair to say the book is a lot more critical about people around the president than it is of the president himself. >> joining me now to explain more is the author of the brand new book, duty memoirs of a secretary of war -- former secretary robert gates. it's an honor to have you here. is your neck okay? >> i tripped on a rug, i wish it were something more adventuresome, but i tripped on a rug. >> there's a lot of problems about the president, the vice president. congress you're not fond of, one thing that struck me about you is something you did every night before you went to bed. you know what i'm talking about, right? >> i want you to tell the audience what you did? >> obviously i was -- every
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evening i had to write condolence letters of the families who had been killed in iraq and afghanistan. and i quickly -- i would sign them at first and very quickly started writing handwritten notes. and then i was concerned that they noting abo become statisti me. with each package, i asked for all the hometown news, accounts and the interviews with their parents families, brothers and sisters and coaches and teachers and so on, so i got to know a little bit about each one of these young people who had made the sacrifice. there were stories of people from wealthy families who chose to serve because they felt they owed it to the country. kids who were aimless and found direction in life. how they liked to fish and hunt and do things like that, i felt
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like i knew them as individuals and that was -- that became very emotional for me. >> every night you cried. every night. most every night. tell a story about how you went to a burn unit. i think it was either at bethesda or walter reid, and you had a hard time? >> the army's burn unit in san antonio and i turned to general corelli, he was my senior military assistant the. we were on our way to the military hospital. i said to him, i don't think i can do the burn unit, i don't think i'm strong enough. there were a lot of kids in the burn unit, there were these humvees that were becoming funeral tires for them. and he didn't say anything, and a couple minutes passed and he
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said, do they think i'm coming? >> they have to do it. i walk in the rehab unit, who's the first kid i lay eyes on, is a young man who is a marine first lieutenant, and i had handed him his deploem ma when i was president of texas a&m, here he is with his wife and baby. and he asked me to give him his medal at texas a&m. >> it speaks volumes about you, and how much you care and how much we all ought to give thanks for these brave men and women. moving on to the commander and chief, he doubts the course that he charted in afghanistan doesn't believe in our strategy, he's skeptical if not convinced it would outright fail. >> it was an evolution airy process, i believe that when he made the decision on the surge, which i believe was a courageous
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decision, because it was against the advise of all his political advisers. i'm convinced he believed that the strategy would work as we went through 2010, the nonmilitary side of the strategy was not working, we were not changing pakistan's hedging strategy, we were not making the afghan government less corrupt or effective, we weren't getting enough civilians into the field to help. we were taking longer and tougher than originally anticipated. and so i think he had these reservations. i will give him credit as late as december 2010, he was still going out in front of the public and announcing the results of the latest review and saying, we're moving ahead, we're doing a good job. we're accomplishing what we set out to do, but i think behind the scenes, he was continually
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worried that the thing wasn't working and expressed those concerns. >> but in large groups as well as -- >> let me put up on the screen something that you quote in the book. you said where this lack of passion mattered most for me was afghanistan, when soldiers put their lives on the line. they need to know the commander in chief who sent them in harm's way believes in their mission, they need him to talk often to them and the country. not just to express gratitude for their sacrifice, but explain and affirm why that sacrifice is necessary. why their cause is just and why they must prevail. president obama never did that, you put that together, he was not convinced it would fail, if i'm a parent, and that's my kid and the defense secretary is telling me, he's sending them into war he's convinced they're going to fail, what are they think something. >> i hope that what they will see is that the decisions he
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made he stuck to he continued with the surge, did as he said he was going to do, that he was going to start, we would end our combat presence there in december of 2014, i think the key is to focus on the actions here and the fact that he sustained his effort. that's one of the reasons i was comfortable continuing to work for him. >> why when the military leaders requested, it was 50 or 60,000 troops or risk failure, i'll never forget those words, the term dithering was used. the president decided only 30,000. if commanders tell you they need 60,000 and you give them 30,000 or risk failure, does that trouble you?
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>> they gave the president three choices. the one that general mcchrystal felt most come o for theable with was a request for 80,000 troops. and hire risk of achieving the mission was 40,000. a much smaller option that he submitted as well. the president, we debated this long and hard, the reality was, that we couldn't get the last units involved for at least a year in any event. i think i played a role in persuading the president to authorize at least 30,000. give me some enablers. and then go to the i'll lies to try to get them to make up the
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difference between that and 40,000. this is one of those occasions where the allies came through. >> you talked about a contentious relationship between the president and the military if i'm being games was the phrase you use, the president you said, as i sat there, i thought the president doesn't trust his commander and can't stand the afghani president. for him, it's all about getting out. why did -- how could we fight a mission if the commander in chief doesn't believe or trust his commanders. that's breathtaking to me as an outsider. >> i think that the problem was that the real problem in terms of the president's suspicion of the military, and i talk about this in the book at some length,
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is that various military leaders, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general petraeus and general mcchrystal during the debate in the white house, made various public statements that in essence the white house interpreted as boxing the president in or putting public pressure on him to adopt their recommendations, and i believe that that was not an orchestrated effort to pressure the president. as i say in the book, i could see how some in the white house could believe that i was never able to persuade the president that it wasn't an orchestrated effort as he would put it to jamming on the regss for the surge. >> we'll come back, and continue with secretary gates. we'll get to that and also, the unique perspective of having worked for president bush and president obama, we'll talk more with defense secretary gates after this, and we'll be joined
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welcome back to hannity, robert gates served as our nation's defense secretary under both president george w. bush and president barack obama. he's here to talk about the different leadership styles when it comes to serving as jander in chief. i thought the most damning thing you could ever say about anybody in this boom is what you said about hillary clinton. you wrote that hillary told the president in front of you, her
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surge had been political because she was facing obama in an iowa primary, and the president conceded vaguely that his opposition to iraq and the surge had also been political. the two of them make these admissions in front of me was as surprising as it was disane. are you really suggesting that hillary clinton put her own personal ambition above our troops? >>. >> i think the book is clear that when the president responded to her comments, he was agreeing that opposition to the surge broadly had been political. i believe that, having lived through that in the spring of 2007 up on the hill. there are two things that made me remember what hillary clinton had said. the first was, i was on the
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opposite side of the table. admiral mullen and i used to joke. particularly in the first months of the obama administration, everyone would trash the bush administration and. >> good thing you're not there. >> what a bunch of bums the bush team were and everything. we're thinking, what, are we invisible? we were integral members of that team, and so the fact that she would say something like that, the other thing that struck me. and i guess made an impact on me, it was an anomaly, i never in the two and a half years we served together, that was the only time i ever heard secretary clinton ever mention domestic politics in terms of her views or recommendations on decisions for the president. and the irony is, she used that reference because she was very strongly with me in supporting the surge in afghanistan. against the recommendations of the white house staff and the
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vice president. >> doesn't it make it worse? she was supporting the surge, she's with you. she agreed with the surge back then, but didn't support it. as far as i'm concerned, that's the equivalent of not supporting our troops. there's a difference between when you're a politician campaigning in campaign mode as a senator and when you have executive branch responsibilities and when she was secretary of state, i never heard anything like that. >> i understand. maybe i just -- to me, that would be putting her personal ambition above the troops, which to me is almost unforgive ababl >> you had different points in the book. you said it's different to bath two more different men than
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barack obama and george bush. you talked about similarities and you talked about from early on, president obama desiring a win re-election. what are the major differences we saw. >> i was serving president bush in the last two years of his administration. all the big administrations except the afghan surge had been made in national security. he knew he had made his historical bed and would have to lie in it one way or the other. and he was never going to run for re-election, and never was his vice president. i served in the first two and a half years of the obama administration, and frankly i suspect that the same kind of sharp elbowed politicos were present at the beginning of the bush administration, they were pretty much gone by the time i got there. domestic politics, what i describe in the book, domestic politics were a factor in every discussion of major foreign policy issues, and the thing i
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give president obama credit for is on several of these issues, like the surge in afghanistan, he went against the political advice of all of his white house political advisers and the vice president. >> you -- but it is interesting, as i read the differences that you have between them here, stylistically, how bush you felt was more comfortable around the military, where you didn't get the same sense that president obama was comfortable around the military. >> the way i describe it in the book, he was always respectful, always gave military leaders as much time as they wanted. listened carefully, was never nasty to them. but i always had the feeling with him, first of all that he was suspicious of their motives and second that time spent with them was an obligation rather than something he enjoyed. and i felt that president bush genuinely enjoyed being around the senior leaders. >> what made you come to the conclusion that from day one
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president obama was seeking re-election. >> i think that was pretty obvious. it didn't require political science to figure that out. you. >> felt every decision you made was seen through that political prism? >> it was a part of the discussion. what i say in the book is, for example, the vice president. in describing things like the afghan surge, i say that the president was aware of the politics but unlike vice president biden and then chief of staff rahm emmanuel was not driven by the domestic policy. >> interestingly you said they had more in common than you thought. >> they like to spend their time with close friends. and they didn't much earn joy the washington social scene, i think one of the references they needed, was -- i thought both of them -- including members of their own party.
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and didn't want anything to do with them any more than they had to, and comparing them to other presidents i worked for, they had the worst of both worlds, they were neither much liked nor feared. >> when we come back, you have some interesting insights into joe biden. you talk about war in a way that i think the country needs to pay attention to. we'll get to that. later, coming up tonight we have a distinguished studio audience going to join this conversation, they will react to this -- these explosive revelations made in explosive revelations made in the book as hannity continues. so, i'm working on a cistern intake valve, and the guy hands me a locknut wrench. no way! i'm like, what is this, a drainpipe slipknot? wherever your business takes you, you can se money with progressive commercial auto. [ sighs ]
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welcome back to hannity, as we continue with robert gates. you say in the book, i think about joe biden. i think he's been wrong on nearly every foreign policy issue over the past four decades, which i think is probably right. so. you also talk about him undermining, you felt he was creating distrust between president obama and the military? >> i did. he as early as him coming back from an early trip to iraq when we were talking about the first addition of troops in february and march of 2009 he told the press on his plane he wasn't going to let the military bully
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the president into making a premature decision. i think that he was -- based on everything i heard from a variety of people in the white house. he was always kind of goading the president you can't trust these guys, they're going to jack you, box you in and so forth. >> do you think he hurts the president in that sense he gav ? >> i think in terms of the relationship with the military it wasn't helpful. i do say in the book, the military -- some of the senior military spoke out publicly too often and outside of congressional testimony where they're supposed to speak out on these issues. and i think that in speaking out and in ways that limited the president's options, or put pressure on them. they gave some cause for people in the white house to be suspicious. but i think it was actually both
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sides doing things, as i said earlier, i don't think -- i don't think there was ever any orchestrated effort to try to pressure the president. there was no doubt where the military stood but i think the speaking out publicly about it did help foster that distrust. i think there were clearly people inside the white house, and i think mainly the vice president who were stoking that fire. >> you said what you saw up close is truly eggly most of congress is uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities. they're micro managers, thin skinned and prone to put self and re-election before country. that i thought was particularly
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hard that they put their own ambition before their can't. that's your experience with them? >> that was my experience. >> is that both sides of the aisle? >> yes. and whether it's supporting weapons systems or expenditures that are no longer necessary or could be better used for other things, opposing, shutting down or saving money by shutting down something in their district or state or -- and we've talked about it previously, i believe that a great deal of the opposition to the surge was political. and so that gave me a lot of trouble. as secretary of defense, i submitted five -- i prepared five budgets and not once did i have an appropriations bill at the beginning of the fiscal year and fighting two wars, we were being dribbled out money two and three months at a time to sustain it, they complain about how the department of defense is poorly managed. >> you talk about the issue of
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war in general, and my own position shifted on this a little bit. you say it's a lot easier to get into than to get out of. too many ideologs i would agree with that. in this day and age, of instantaneous media, we're at a point in this country if a war gets politicized we're almost incapable of accomplishing the mission of winning it. and if we're not about winning, that's what bothered me about what you said about the president, he thought he was going to lose. if we're not about winning the war, we shouldn't put one american soldier in harm's way. am i wrong? >> what i believe is that we make a lot of wrong assumptions about war, and too often the questions about what happens if
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those assumptions are wrong are never asked. we went into both iraq and afghanistan believing these would be short wars. the american people are fine with a war like the first gulf war that lasts 100 hours with a couple months of bombing beforehand. but any president that puts american military into a situation where we're using force without clear objectives, without clear guidelines in terms of what do we hope to achieve here. and what are our benchmarks in terms of whether we're being successful. when the first president bush launched the gulf war, the only time in my experience he actually put down on a piece of paper what our war aims were, and we would stop when we achieved those aims.
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we need clairity when we do use military force so we don't get sucked into long grinding conflicts like we faced in afghanistan and iraq and where you end up with ambiguous outcomes. >> based on what you're saying and what you say about war and you even mock joe biden that we can use drones and win wars. maybe one day, but that's not reality right now. when you go back to the president, you are convinced he didn't think we can win it? he didn't believe in it, he didn't think it was his war? i don't know if i could have served under a president that wasn't convinced he was going to win that war and do everything possible to win. >> well, i -- and that's -- that's i think the distinction i would draw. the president did have reservations, whether we could achieve our objectives, i think.
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but he did make the decisions that i felt were important that would enable us to be successful in accomplishing -- >> even though he wasn't convinced they could win. and we started the segment earlier, we played segments of the president and what he was saying, and he didn't believe in it, you didn't feel he believed in it. >> i think he believed in it when he made the decisions, he continued to have enough confidence that he made the decisions to keep supporting the troops in afghanistan, despite whatever reservations he might have had. >> even though it was 40% less than what the commanders felt was necessary to win the war? >> the truth,we couldn't have come up with 80,000 troops even if he approved that number. i think the military including general petraeus came to accept
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that the numbers they had been given would enable them to accomplish the objective. >> i hope in the future that people pay attention. there's a lot of lessons to be learned here. the worst part to me that happened in all this, we had a lot of kids that lost their legs, a lot of families that lost their sons and daughters. and i don't think the country was as committed to this as they should have been. >> when wars drag on, political and public support tends to evaporate, we have to be more careful about when we engage our military force, so when we do we can accomplish our objective fairly quickly and then come home. >> there's no doubt your commitment to the troops, what i learned about you was fascinating. thank you for being with us 37 i read it cover to cover, enjoyed it, in book stores now. right there. when we come back, our distinguished studio audience made up of experts, pundits and
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family members of fallen troops. they're going to react to the book. we always want to hear from you, log on to our special companion site, hannitylive.foxnews.com. we'll continue. if you've got copd like me... ...hey breathing's hard. know the feeling? copd includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. spiriva is a once-daily inhaled copd maintenance treatment that helps open my obstructed airways for a full 24 hours. spiriva helps me breathe easier. spiriva handihaler tiotropium bromide inhalation powder does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. tell your doctor if you have kidney problems, glaucoma, trouble urinating, or an enlarged prostate. these may worsen with spiriva. discuss all medicines you take, even eye drops. stop taking spiriva and seek immediate medical help if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, vision changes or eye pain, or problems passing urine. other side effects include dry mouth and constipation. nothing can reverse copd.
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welcome back to hannity, it's time to bring in our distinguished studio audience for their reaction to my exclusive interview with robert gates. his revelations about president obama's leadership or lack thereof during his time at the white house. thank you for being here. billy and karen, i've interviewed you guys in the past. you lost your son in afghanistan. >> that's correct. >> how long ago? >> 2011. >> is this still an open wound? >> yes. >> what did you think of what he said? more particularly about the president that he's skeptical if not outright convinced he would fail. doesn't believe in our strategy.
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for him it was all about getting out. >> what kind of man sends men and women into harm's way with that kind of attitude toward a war that he won't call a war. trying to sanitize it and calling it overseas contingency. you can't sanitize a war. >> does it frustrate you that all of this is going on in shington and meanwhile your son gave his life for his country? >> that is the overwhelming thing. america is so disengaged with this particular war. there's been a terrific strategy of that but to confirm what we already knew this president was disengaged in this war as he was sending our sons and daughters over, it's a very difficult pill to swallow. >> what was your reaction to what he said about hillary. >> she admitted her opposition
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to the surge was it political because she was running against barack obama? >> i was not shocked, i -- we've seen the clintons, we know who they are, this is who they are, this is who they've been, look at benghazi. >> the let me ask you a tough question, you lost your son, i can't think of anything worse a parent would ever have to go through. what would you say to kids that are thinking about going into the military now based on revelations of this book? >> i tell you what, this is hard to say, when aaron came in and told us he signed up for the seal challenge program, we were proud of him as we could be, today under the current rules of engagement and under the leadership we have, i would not recommend that any young man or young woman join this military to go and fight for this republican, i'm sorry i feel it,
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it's not the republic. >> daze a bad way to feel. >> it's a burden to say that openly, it is true. >> it's a sad commentary. >> yes. >> jane, you lost your husband in afghanistan, when did you lose him? >> a little over two years ago. >> you heard the interview, what's your reaction to that? >> i have a lot of mixed thoughts in my head, it's horrifying our men and women have volunteered their time to serve our country. i think that it's horrible our country is not backing them up, they're not telling them why they're over there not convincing the american people why they went there in the first place, it's been a huge lack of leadership and vision. it's really affecting the servicemen and women. >> general mcinerney, what's your reaction when you hear that. >> it's clearly disturbing. the thing you have to admire
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secretary gates putting this book out. i wish he would have put it out sooner like dakota meyer said last night it would have been important to the american people if it came out in 2011 when he did. whatever way you look at it, we have the wrong strategy in afghanistan. we've given our troops, who have performed magnificently, the wrong rules of engagement, and you see karen and billy. >> with hand cuffs on. >> with handcuffs. and their son was killed because we didn't have lz prep on it, there are countless stories when you see the movie lone survivor. they were talking about the rules of engagement, look, it's really simple, we win, they lose. >> we're going to come back. we're going to get the audience reaction. do hillary's comments disqualify her from being president. much more with our studio
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audience as this edition of hannity continues.
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welcome back to hannity, we bring in our studio audience. show of hands, hillary clinton's comments, she admits she opposed the surge for political reasons. should it disqualify her from ever being commander in chief? >> anybody disagree? why. >> because i think that playing politics and making decisions based off of your outcome in a poll shows your true character and integrity. that in line with the way she handled benghazi -- >> what difference does it make? >> exactly. >> when you're playing with people's lives, that's
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absolutely disgusting behavior. >> she's going to have to work very hard to overcome this idea that the clintons are politicians. they need to show they're intouch with the america people and especially our men and women in iraq. >> hillary clinton putting her finger in the wind. there's a place where she could have shown her principles, whatever they might be. it sounds as if joe biden is being more manipulative, pitting the military against obama. maybe he's more crafty and cunning than we thought. >> your question that we should disqualify her, that means she was qualified to be president in chief to begin with. >> none of this is a big mystery here, we've all known for many years these are committed
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anti-war leftists, none of this should be a surprise. our military's incredibly professional, they will go and fight and try to win these wars that they are set to fight. it's not -- >> if the military asks for 50 and they get 30 or risk failure. >> correct. and when we talk about public will. when we political will to go and fight the wars you can't expect the public to go along and continue to support efforts when the commander in chief and secretary of state do not support them. >> 30, 40, or 80,000 troops to do what? they keep talking about success i haven't heard a person talking about islamic soupremessupremes american people, the secretary says we can't strap in for a long war. if american pekt we're there to fight and kill the taliban and al qaeda they'd be with it for as long as it takes. >> look at deal in iran today. whatever the secret deal is we
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don't know about. >> yes. if you make them think we're there to build a democracy in afghanistan, no one cares whether they have a democracy in afghanistan. we care about american national security. >> great point. >> another side of this when it comes to hillary that matters not what we think. it's what our enemies and frankly, allies think of us if we have a president willing to put their finger in the wind to do what is political expedient how do we from a foreign policy point of view deal with enemies like iran and north korea? they deal rise they're dealing with hillary clinton. our perspective like dealing with radical islam is that we have to recognize the culture not apply our values and our american way of thinking to dealing with an enemy. they think differently than we do. that is one of the reasons. >> have you to recognize that truth. >> but we dmot when we have a
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seriously. our blood is in their soil. >> steve you're an oklahoma senator. >> i think it goes to wider issue. in civil war you had party of opposition. progressives in world war ii delayed our entry, causing lives world wide. in somalia, vehicles were not sent that were costly. we've seen my service in iraq and afghanistan under cut, under funded and the nation divided. shame on any american when the decision when we go to war, have you to back us up. >> i was wounded and 32 of our guys were wounded we bled on that ground. the bottom line is that when you're you're there you're in the worried about politics. you're
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not thinking about this stuff. i will tell you now that i've been home seven years any time we send soldars to war we have a moral obligation to win, win big. >> you skrnt america divided and politicalizing it. >> my thoughts and prayers go out to family who's have lost a loved one. i can only imagine. >> do you know how hard sit? >> it's horrible. >> i met this wonderful couple a couple years ago. i agree with general, this book should have come out sooner. and really we're witnessing what we already knew that obama is a bad leader. and instead of him second guessing himself and questioning others he should have done a much better job. it reminds me of the character in our movie "the gladiator". they don't respect me. they won't love me
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something to that affect. you know this is what our country does not need we need a leader who is going to lead, stand up and protect america. >> interesting how little we hear about afghanistan. because it's unpopular. you don't have the president going out there and rebutting anti-american propaganda and bragging about successes on the ground. is it too much to ask the president just acknowledge victory troops had and good things they're doing on the ground so they know they're being appreciated? we ran out of time. >> secretary gates and i were in during vietnam war we were junior staffers together in the white house. the night vietnam fell, and american ambassador had the american flag and fled and evacuated in a helicopter off the embassy roof. we looked at each other and said "never again" never again should america fight a war where american people aren't behind it and we don't intend to win. what
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have we done? fought that war again. >> start each weekday morning with fox and friends. thanks for joining us. see you then. esidt oba president obama getting ready to bulldoze washington. his master plan now exposed in an e-mail blast to supporters white house senior advisor promises the president won't be waiting for congress to act, and will use every, yes every executive tool available to get what he wants. apparently the years of action will be all about executive action. >> if congress continues to stand only for dysfunction and delay, then i'm going to move ahead without them. i'm going to do everything that i can do without congress. >> whatever congress refuses to act, joe and i are going to act. >> with or without congress. >> i am going to act on my own. >> i have a

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